4.22.2010

Just One Thing

mociun + corwin tote...

For the past couple of years, I've tried to hone in on a single Earth Day "resolution" of sorts. Last year, I decided to completely eschew paper towels, and (not to be dramatic) it was a bit, well... life changing. Namely it gave me confidence that I could go without something that I'd previously thought was so essential to our every day existence. (Let's just say I was awfully addicted to paper towels friends.)

I've struggled to come up with something similarly specific this year and instead keep veering toward broad ideas like "buy less/make more"... So I'm settling on a goal that is frankly a smidge embarrassing and mundane. Here goes:

I'm vowing to not take a single bag from the store all year.

Now maybe you're thinking, "What? Reusable bags? That's so 2003." And yes, I agree wholeheartedly, it's not exactly something exciting and new. But here's the thing, I still haven't mastered it. While I'm good about bringing my own bags roughly 50% of the time, and I'm often jamming small purchases in my purse (much to the dismay of the cashier), I still struggle with remembering them for the big shopping trips, resulting in a glut of plastic bags that is completely bumming me out.

So this goal is going to be more about some creating sort of mechanism for remembering the darn things. (I'm open to any and all suggestions here...)

So what about you friends, are you setting any goals for Earth Day? What's your "one thing" this year?


p.s. I'll be back from the beach Monday with photos aplenty + I'll announce the winner of the 1000th post giveaway (there's still time to leave a comment for a chance to win that killer necklace...)

30 comments:

ashley maureen said...

what a nice idea! i seem to have mastered the reusable bags-- my grocery store has a 'scan as you go' option, where you can bring the scanning gun around with you and scan each item as you place it in your bag. then when you get to the checkout all you have to do is pay! it makes it so much easier to have the reusable bags so they're packed along the way and you don't have to worry about loading groceries at the end. because of this, bringing my bags into the store along with my list has become second nature.

now... what is your secret with the paper towels? i am so dependent.

Christine O'Connell said...

Hi Joslyn,

I made the very same resolution to myself this Earth Day as well. We'll see how it goes, but I purchased these great bags from Flip & Tumble to help me with this goal. The great thing about these bags is that they roll up into little balls, so you can just toss them in your purse so they're always with you.

Good luck!

Flip & Tumble: http://www.flipandtumble.com/

Susan said...

That is a great goal. I've got the grocery store bags down in that they always live all nested together in the front seat of my car. While it doesn't look great - I don't forget them. Still working on having a cute bag for other stores. And please do tell on how you do without the papertowels!

mominaledo said...

That's such a great idea. I have reusable bags galore...just always forget to take them with me. But I have walked out of so many stores holding my purchase instead of taking the bag. Some people look at me like I'm crazy and others get it. I'm going to make an effort to keep the bags in the car but, more important, take them into the grocery store (where most bags come from of course!). Thanks for the friendly earth day reminder!!

Grace @ Front Porch Yoga said...

Every little thing counts!

I just read about a reusable bag giveaway yesterday at Annie's Eats:
http://annies-eats.com/2010/04/22/earth-day-cupcakes-and-a-giveaway/

The kinds she's giving away might be the perfect thing for you cuz they fold up SUPER tiny, so they'd fit in your purse (seems like forgetting to bring them along is half the battle!).

Best wishes!

Rebecca said...

I love my Envirosax for precisely this reason--they fit into any bag, so I'm never without them!

Allison said...

I keep my reusable bags by the door so I can see them when I'm going out - and I try to keep a small fold-into-its-pouch one (like a chico bag) in my purse at all times. Actually I use reusable bags more when I walk to the grocery co-op (only a block and a half away) because they're easier to carry than the paper or plastic ones (and less likely to break).

Breanne said...

What an awesome goal. I fully support this idea!

On my Earth Day post, I listed using cloth bags as something I do right for the Earth, but I do slip up occasionally. I really, really like the idea of vowing NOT to take a store bag at all this year.

Good luck!

vanessa joie said...

That's wonderful! I'm joining you... Happy Earth Day!

stephanie said...

that is a great resolution! my husband and i had trouble always remembering the bags but it just took us a little bit and now it's like second nature. i always take a bag with me to work, for lunch or whatever, so that way if i need to stop on the way home i have the bag with me! that's just one little trick. we also usually have at least one bag in the car just in case. but yeah for those big shopping trips now it's just "you got the list?" "yeah. you got the bags?" "yeah"

Meghan said...

The best way I have found to remember is to always put them back in the car after unloading the goceries. It has just became part of my process. Good Luck!

leni said...

what an amazing goal! for some reason, i always forget to grab mine from the trunk when i go into stores. then i have to walk back out and get it before checking out. my goal would be to remember mine before going into the store!

Kim in the Cove said...

Make no apologies, you have a reat point - no one has mastered this yet. Two clues: the baggers at the checkout fumble clumsily to work with reusable bags - and - you don't see many people bringing their own bags. It's up to us to set a good example.

I'm super forgetful so I try to keep mine in the front seat of my car. Target sells some that fold up so you can stow them in your purse... Please share any tricks you pick up.

Estelle said...

I keep all my reusable bags in the front seat of my car so they are highly visable. Makes my car look a bit messy but it seems to be the only way I can remember to bring them in the store with me. So I empty the groceries and immediately walk the bags out to my car.

adornedunicorn said...

Love it. I think I will try for the same- I get the bags to the car about 50% of the time, but we do use the paper bags for other things. What about clothes shopping?

Anonymous said...

You dont have a Trader Joe's but I am sure you can find one of these bags somewhere- I bought a large freezer bag (SAMS club may have them). I have the bag hanging on my coat rack with all of the other reusable bags inside it, so that they are all in one place. The problem with the small bags that roll up into a ball is 1) they are expensive and for big shopping trips you need the sturdier ones- so I would go all out on getting a bunch of those for a large trip. I try and buy a bag from the store everytime I go, so that I can have a bunch when I need them for a large trip. The cooler bag is greatness because it condenses the use of a bunch of the smaller ones and it is very solid. Once you have enough bags to make a big shopping trip, keep them all in the big bag and just put it in your trunk- and it doesnt have to be a big deal. If you see the bag and its still in your house- even if its not a shopping trip, just take it to the car. I also do that with my big blue IKEA bags- so that when I have to carry a bunch of things into the house from my car, I always have a big bag to stick it all in. Good Luck!

paula said...

the key for me is to always remember to put them back into my car after I use them. As in unload the groceries, put backs directly back in the car.

Sarah Elizabeth said...

I have an abundance of reusable bags in all different styles, really I must have at least 20 of them and every time I see them for sale I always want to buy another one. You would think that with all of these bags I'd never be stuck but around 50% of the time I forget the bags and end up having to use plastic bags or somehow carry everything in my arms. I get strange looks from people as I try to balance my purchases in a teetering pile on one arm while I try to find the keys to the car! So, if you find a foolproof method of remembering the bags then please let me know!

Rachel said...

Several Baggu, in your purse at all times.

We keep a little bag of Baggu hanging by our front door, for easy grabbing on the way out.

If you drive to the store, it's even easier! Just get in the habit of putting your re-useable bags in the trunk of the car. That's what we do with our big ones, the freezer bags and such.

Engracia said...

I carry a bunch of jute totes in the boot of my car so that when I do the groceries I can just grab them. I also have in my handbag one of those fold and zip bags which actually came with a Donna Hay magazine a few years ago so I'm hopefully never caught out without a bag. Most stores here now charge 10c or 20c (depending on the size of the bags) for bags if you don't have any on you so that is a great incentive not to take one and to have one of your own on you. My goal this year is to do carpooling with other mums for the school run and as the boys get a bit older (and faster on their feet) to actually walk (it is a bit of a treck and easier to do in winter than in the humid heat of summer).
Have a happy weekend.
Engracia
xx

Pixie said...

Living in the NYC area, I'm use to packing whatever i buy around with me all day since I don't own a car. I keep 2 small canvas bags folded up in my purse...they don't take up much space but I can stuff them when shopping. The other good thing is that I can only buy as much as I can carry back several blocks home. This keeps me in budget and from buying a ton of junk that I dont need from the grocery store.

H said...

i love the idea of using an unlined trash container with lid for used cloths. This has always been one of those little things that have kept me from fully embracing the toss-the-paper-towels route. Probably need 2 - one for holding used and one for clean..... How do you store your clean burb towels without them getting all mixed up with other towels, etc. Always looking for simple choices here.

Emom said...

I commend you!
I think that this goal is admirable, and wish that I had the guts to try it, tell us how it goes....smiles.

Ms. S said...

We keep a minimum of 4 reusable bags (varying size, but mostly large) in the trunk. Once we come home and unload the groceries (or other purchases), we hang the bags on the front door knob (we're in an apartment - use whatever door is most used for getting to the car) so that whoever uses the car next places the bags back in the trunk. This way we always have bags with us for groceries/large purchases. I tried carrying bags around in my purse, but they're never big enough and I don't want to carry a zillion bags. Plus, I usually forgot they were in there, which I don't do when they're in the trunk for some reason.
Anyhow, best of luck!

katrina said...

Apparently, many people in Japan carry scarves that can be tied into bags - furoshiki. You can just grab a bunch of square scarves and they can be folded to carry any sort of packages or just as a sack for groceries. I find that they take up even less space than canvas bags or other compact bags.

Signorina Svizzera said...

to be honest, i don't have any goals because living in switzerland means i have to live very earth friendly (i don't mean this in a bragging way, just that it's how they do things here). since moving here i mastered the art of the reusable grocery bag... if you don't have one, you have to pay for one! (some stored have plastic bags but they are too small to hold a meal's worth of groceries, and so everyone brings their own bag, cart, or buys).
the majority of food here is local/organic/seasonal, and i walk or take public transport everywhere :)
good luck on your new goal and happy belated earth day :)

YYZ said...

Good resolution. And don't worry-- you will get used to it and will, eventually, NEVER be without a reusable bag. I live in Toronto, where plastic bags have been all but banned by a city by-law (in Ireland and, I think, Bangladesh, they have been banned completely) which requires you to pay for every bag you take.

At first, I would routinely head blithely out the door and/or into a grocery store without my reusable bags. But, as it is pretty well completely socially unacceptable to be seen with a plastic bag in these here parts, eventually I managed to remember more often than I forgot. Now, my car and my purse are both full of various types of reusable bags.

So, stick with it; It's a small but important gesture to not take plastic bags and you won't believe how much more room you'll have in your junk drawer/broom closet (or wherever you store all those plastic bags)! Good luck!

Allison said...

A few years ago I purchased Envirosax bags. It was around $35 for a set of 5 back then, and they are awesome. They fold up so small, I can carry all of them in my diaper bag (or a large purse...or even a mid-size purse!). They are totally washable and they hold so much and are super strong. Can you tell I really love them? They have held up over all this time and many jam-packed shopping trips. Also, they are stylish to boot, I have received many a compliment. I highly recommend them.

Kendra said...

Love it Joslyn!

I recommend baggu bags. It's a little embarrassing how much joy these little bags bring me. Bright fun colors. Mix and match patterns. Surprisingly large capacity. And they fold back up perfectly after each use. Perfection! They live in my purse.

I think I am going to resolve to turn of my computer every night, which may seem like a weird resolution, but I pretty much never shut my laptop down. As well as UNPLUG unused electronics. It's so hard to remember to do that.

H said...

Here is a little something I use to double the work of a paper towel when I use them. I have a pretty wicker container in the kitchen. After I use a paper towel for a quick water spill on the counter/table, I either use that same towel (and its clean wetness) to do a quick mop up of a perhaps mud track from the children on our tile floor or I toss it into the wicker container to save to use again later for a floor spill. This way I get to use paper towels twice and I feel less guilty for using paper towels when I do use them.